Before I became a mom, I never realized how difficult it would be to schedule playdates for my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, she’s only two and is usually content with sliding down the same slide for two hours. But, as she grows up and her attention span shortens, she’s going to want me to host some more creative playdate ideas for her and her friends. And, to be honest, I won’t blame her. In fact, for my own sanity, I may want to start switching up her outings ASAP.

Now, a get together doesn’t have to to cost a lot of money or require some sort of Pinterest party planning skills. There are plenty of play date ideas that won’t break your bank and will let your kids unleash all that pent up energy, no matter their age. Some require a little bit more planning and coordination than others, while some only need you and the great outdoors. But no matter the ages of your kids, your level of craftiness, or the amount of energy you want to pour into playdates, there’s a playdate idea for you.

As fun as the park can be, why not switch things up next time around? Have some mommy friends over with their littles and have a cookie baking contest, or theme the entire playdate around a favorite book. The options are truly limitless and the benefits are many- including saving you from the boredom of walking to the same park for the 1000th time.

1. Get Crafty

What better way to encourage creativity and thinking outside the box than by getting a bunch of kiddos together and crafting? You can tailor this by age- think finger paintings turned modern art for the toddlers and these confetti bookmarks from DIY Candy for older kids.

2. Go Outside

You don’t have to have a park nearby or an amazing back yard to get outside. Round up some kiddos and take an adult supervised bike ride, go on a walk or simply draw with chalk on the sidewalk.

3. Host A Mini Olympics

If you need to make sure your kids burn off some steam and have a great time while they’re at it, host an Olympic themed play date. You can make it as complex or simple as you like- the kids will never know and they’ll literally jump at the chance to compete with their friends.

4. Bake Up Some Fun

Kids and cookies go together like a sugar rush and naptime . . . or something like that. Get the kids together to whip up these adorable Frida Kahlo cookies from A Beautiful Mess or super easy “Swig cookies” from Vintage Revivals. They'll have so much fun creating something that they can eventually eat.

5. Form A Book Club

Theme a playdate around a beloved children's book. Read the book aloud, then have the kids make crafts related to the book (like this awesome Lorax themed storyboard.) You can even serve themed snacks for an extra special touch.

6. Celebrate The Season

If there’s a holiday coming up, take advantage of the season and have a themed play date. DIY Candy's cute hanging wreaths are perfect for the Christmas season, but can be adapted to any holiday.

7. Put On A Show

Round up all the kids and help them make their own puppets, then watch as the theatrics (and guaranteed hilarity) ensue.

Images: Bokan/Fotolia; Courtesy of DIY Candy; LarsPlougmann, Vincet Angler/ Flickr; A Beautiful Mess; Modge Podge Rocks; DIY Candy; 30 Minute Crafts